Oct. 7, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
Street safety advocates will meet on 21st Street this weekend to perform a “street action” calling for continued safety upgrades to the busy corridor.
Organized by the Transportation Alternatives Queens Activist Committee and the Coalition for Traffic Calming on 21st Street, the street action will take place at 2 p.m. on 21st Street and 33rd Road. This stretch of road separates residential streets from a shopping strip with no legal crossing across 21st Street.
“The foot traffic that is there is scary to watch,” TA volunteer Angela Stach said. “Especially mothers with little children in carriages trying to cross the street there – it just makes your heart freeze.”
For this Halloween-inspired street action, costumed activists will perform a skit that aims to promote the installation of a traffic light at that spot in a “fun, positive” way, Stach said. Their goal is to raise awareness “in good spirit” for this and other improvements that TA and the Coalition propose for 21st Street.
The Department of Transportation has identified 21st Street from Hoyt Avenue South to Queens Plaza as a “high crash corridor,” and this year undertook a series of safety improvements there including curb extensions, improved street lighting and markings, a new traffic signal, and pedestrian-only crossing time at 10 intersections.
TA and the Coalition celebrated these improvements, but argue much work remains.
“[These improvements] contain many of the things that were requested in the community, and are really great, and we’re really grateful,” Stach said. “It’s a great start.”
Proposals from Transportation Alternatives and the Coalition include new traffic lights, speed reduction measures, pedestrian crossing aids such as mid-street islands, upgrades to the three-way intersection at 27th Avenue and Astoria Boulevard, and biking infrastructure.
“Astoria is a real transitional neighborhood – there’s so much housing development happening, so the traffic there and the issues around it will only increase,” Stach said. “I think we have not fully recognized the changing nature of this street, that it’s not just an industrial corridor.”
Reach reporter Jackie Strawbridge at [email protected]